But instead of dumping on 4E, I want to remember some of my favorite bits:
- Goblins shifting after being missed with a melee attack. The first time I used this in a game, I remember how surprised the players were and it was great to see that goblins/orcs/kobolds could be more than interchangeable low-level monster stat blocks but could have some flavor that played out in the combat.
- Fighters with interesting combat options. Clerics who could be more than heal-bombs. After the constant who will play the Cleric fights of the 3.5 games I ran and played in, it was refreshing to see Clerics (and the other 4E leader classes) be able to heal and do other things in combat. And having fighters with interesting options was another revelation. In fact, I can't recall a time when anyone played a straight fighter character in our 3.5 games.
- My barbarian Amleth. Previous editions of D&D never provided me with a barbarian class that felt satisfying. 4E changed that. The Daily Rage mechanic felt like one of the least forced of the daily powers and had the added bonus of being able to sack a daily rage power to make a Rage strike. An option that was strangely not used for any other classes. Some of my favorite D&D moments were being able to charge recklessly into the middle of the fight and lay waste with Amleth, letting the mechanics and powers of the class support a character driven goal to lead from the front lines and charge to and fro in the battle.
- Hobbits. I ran a fantastic one shot where the players all played inter-related Hobbits and discussed tookweed as they fought off ghouls and then I stole that schtick for a game I played in to have a trio of hobbit siblings who baffled the rest of the part as well as the enemies as we ran about enjoying ourselves in spite of the often dark and terrifying goings on around us.